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A sign of the times, perhaps

A true story. Yesterday, shortly after the hour of noon and the commencement of Prime Minister’s Question Time on BBC1 which I had been watching in furtherance of keeping myself abreast on Brexit matters – under just-issued orders obeyed because my practice is to get my chores out of the way so that I can then ‘pull up my drawbridge and relax’ – I nipped down the road to buy some provisions from my nearby mini-supermarket (daily-visited because it from where I buy my newspaper).

As I blew into said establishment I adopted a ‘competition road walker’-style gait with exaggerated arm movements and made straight for one of the aisles past a couple of other shoppers, to the amusement of the Asian proprietor and his wife whom I know well.

From his habitual position behind the counter said owner, a Manchester United football supporter with whom I often discuss sporting matters, called out with a smile “You look like you’re on a mission …” which viewpoint I confirmed [see explanation detailed in my opening paragraph above].

Later, as I was chatting with his wife having placing my purchases in front of her at the till, he asked for my views on the Brexit mess after suggesting that Mrs May was making a bit of a horlicks of things.

In expanding my agreement with his curt summary I then found myself extemporising upon the theme with (even though I say it myself) a rather impressive discourse taking in the fact it was all David Cameron’s fault for his deluded decision to call the 2016 Referendum in the first place, the current dysfunctional state of British politics, the lunacy displayed daily in the House of Commons and on our news and current affairs radio stations and television channels as MPs and pundits of all persuasion queued up to bore us with their half-baked opinions and speculations, and – in a stirring and passionate riffing finale – my theory that it all came down to the depressingly-poor quality of our supposed leaders.

Said last item reached its apex with my damning statement that the Tories had condemned themselves to failure and disarray from the moment that they chose the Maybot as their new leader and thence Prime Minister.

Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing via which to wallow and justify one’s subsequent opinions, but I added that it was blatantly obvious even before she was anointed – just by her previous performance record as an MP and Government minister and (more importantly) her looks, dress sense, body language and inability to ‘connect’ with others on a human level – that Mrs May was totally devoid of the fundamental qualities that go to make up a great leader, whether that be in the field of political, business, professional, public service, religion or even team sports.

I went on to list these as follows in no particular order of importance:

(1) a natural charismatic ‘presence’ giving outward assurance and comfort to all they meet or dealt with;

(2) an ability to inspire others and get the best out of them;

(3) a genuine ‘team player’ (all for one and one for all) mentality;

(4) a healthy degree of fluent articulacy;

(5) an ability to ‘think outside the box’;

(6) an ability to be practical in recognising what can and cannot be achieved;

(7) a flair for working out and/or alighting upon the best route to achieve a goal;

(8) a set of clear principles and a vision;

(9) a natural and genuine social affability and interest in others;

(10) [lastly but not least] a pronounced, even puzzling to others, ability to attract good fortune.

I finished my 2019 version of the Gettysburg Address by repeating my claim that – by these simple and straightforward yardsticks – in the Maybot the Tory Party had effectively chosen themselves an accident waiting to happen.

And had therefore fully deserved everything that was currently coming their way.

As a postscript I added that – generally – the lack of leaders and leadership in Britain across the political spectrum was currently as bad as it had ever been.

There was a slight pause before the shop proprietor quipped “We were saying to each other the other day that you ought to be Prime Minister – you’d be a great leader …”

I was rather proud of my dismissive response (“… I’m not even the leader in my own household!”), which produced an eruption of mirth among everyone in the shop at the time.



About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts